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  1. This year is different from any other for it is a Pesach of pain, the pain of the people of Israel, the suffering of families across the State who grieve so many losses, that of family members, the kidnapping of loved ones, the displacement from their homes and businesses both in the North and the South. Not to mention the loss of employment due to the war. Let us remember their anguish by adding to the Seder plate a flag of Israel or / and symbol of a dove.
  1. This Pesach night will be different from any others. Even though it is meant to be an evening of God’s watchfulness when we fling open the doors of our homes in a spirit of openness to the world outside and to the sustaining spirit of the prophet Elijah, we will probably be more watchful than welcoming. Cautious of the misguided and the malevolent strangers who have taken to our streets to threaten and intimidate us, to spew out their hatred at our Jewishness. They call it anti-Israel; I call it anti-Jewish. But let us be defiant and courageous, and in the Jewish spirit of generous and open hearts challenge those with closed minds and stringent hearts. I will open my door and I will not be cowed by you.
  1. This evening the familiar texts will take on an unfamiliar resonance. Surely, more than ever, it will not be about the pastness of the past but about the presence of the past. The words, in every generation they rise to destroy us, will have a horrible and eerie relevance to them. So, the words of Pharaoh that we are not to be trusted sounding like a social media post. His real genocidal intentions – not the grossly affronting accusations of genocide against our people – are the Hamas ethos. But I will loudly proclaim this is what has stood by us – the God of our history and our enduring spirit.

We shall overcome and end our seders singing about dreams and hopes, not only for ourselves, but for the whole world!

May you and your loved ones have a Pesach of good courage, joy and hope!

Chag sameach,

Rabbi Ralph

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